Although Carnival has different origins, we see it above all as a great way to have fun after some time out to recover from the Christmas hangover. The show must go on, so what better than to resume the fun in style a few weeks into the new year?
Of course, there are different ways of celebrating Carnival, although they all involve an eccentric tribute to worldly pleasures before Easter Week. No matter how you celebrate Carnival, most of the celebrations involve parades with colourful carnival costumes and the traditional Burial of the Sardine.
This post looks at how we celebrate Carnival in Alicante and explains the origin of the festival itself.
For Carnival in Alicante 2018, the city will become an exotic fiesta from February 8 to 18. This is a festivity Alicante celebrates in a big way, with an extensive programme that means constant fun and entertainment for participants and spectators alike.
If you are staying at Hotel Montíboli de Villajoyosa during the event, we recommend a visit to the city of Alicante to see these entertaining, historical celebrations.
Carnival in Alicante is an open, democratic event and is celebrated by and for all residents and visitors in an atmosphere without walls or enclosures. Everyone is invited to this great fiesta and you don't have to belong to any club or association to take part.
Once again, Carnival in Alicante 2018 will feature events as important as the iconic Dijous de Gras, which marks the beginning of Carnival. It is a Thursday on which Plaza de San Cristóbal will be decorated from 9.00 pm onwards, in preparation for the popular Correfoc Carnavalero and the Arribada del momo.
Two days later, if you are visiting with children, we recommend El Sábado Ramblero, a children's Carnival party in Alicante on Carnival Saturday afternoon. Children show off their Carnival costumes and the atmosphere is bubbling with fun and entertainment.
After the children's party is over, the main party for grown-ups begins in Plaza San Cristóbal. This is the famous Carnival Rock Festival, a fun party with rock music taking centre stage.
If you still have more appetite for Carnival in Alicante, at noon on Sunday you can go to La Explanada for El Domingo de Resaca. There will be entertainment for children and activities for adults.
Carnival Tuesday is the day for El Jui de Carnestoltes, also known as the Judgment of Master Carnal of Carnival in Alicante. The event stages a metaphorical tribute to the triumph of Lent over mundane pleasures. This fun event is set to begin at 9.30 pm.
The climax of the celebrations is Tuesday’s Carnival Ball, a very popular event with live music.
And if you’re still here after all that, the Burial of the Sardine in Alicante is a truly spectacular event. It starts on Carnival Wednesday in front of the Central Market at 9.00 pm, where the Wake of the Sardine will be held, followed by the Funeral Procession of the Sardine in which it is taken to Plaza del Carmen. The procession's arrival there marks the commencement of the rite that ends with the cremation of the sardine.
Following the burial of the sardine, there will be more live music in Plaza del Carmen so that everyone can enjoy the traditional Black Carnival Ball.
The origin suggested by religion is simply the idea of having fun before Lent begins. An enjoyable way of doing everything that was forbidden during the pre-Easter period, in which eating meat and other pleasures were frowned upon not so many years ago.
And the simple fact of dressing up, painting your face and having a great time is something the Sumerians started doing thousands of years ago.
There is even clearer evidence of the celebration of carnival in the classical Saturnalia, the magnificent celebrations the Romans held in honour of Bacchus (Dionysus for the Greeks) and Saturn.
However, the entertaining carnival we enjoy today is more directly related to the Catholic Church, although it is not officially part of the religion.
In Spain, Carnival is documented as a celebration from the Middle Ages, although it was during the Renaissance that it became popular and acquired its own identity.
Mediaeval Christians celebrated their Carnival as a period in which everything was allowed. As with carnival today, the celebrations criticised society, focusing on the clergy, the government and the nobility of the time.
But Carnival in Spain was not always allowed, depending on those who ruled the country. Some of them gave in to constant pressure from the Church, for example, Charles III of Spain and the regent Maria Christina of Austria, who permitted the celebration, while Ferdinand V and Ferdinand VII banned it completely.
It is said that Carnival masks come directly from the priestesses who, in honour of the god Bacchus, ran naked through the countryside wearing only a belt made of vine leaves. They would shout and scream to the rhythm of the drums and flutes that accompanied them. Hordes of men ran after them with their faces smeared in mud to avoid recognition. The ritual was traditionally carried out while they were completely drunk or pretending to be.
This Greek celebration was copied by the Romans, who, over the centuries, began to use masks, which then became commonplace at dances and festivals as Christian Lent was approaching.
How do you enjoy Carnival? Whether you usually celebrate this entertaining pre-Easter tradition or not, we look forward to welcoming you at our Hotel Servigroup Montíboli...